Cavalry life in tent and field
Begins with marriage and hardships of travel and life in the army including finances. Discusses visiting with Indians; enlisted men, officers and wives; lawlessness; housing; medical needs and care; and geography and scenery. Starts with complaints about the West and ends with a love of it. Covers California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and visits to Denver, St. Louis, Chicago and New York City
Subject: Fascinated and Amused
Her intrepid adventures with canvas tents that catch fire regularly, the rain, mud and insects while confessing she is no cook and a worse laundress was wonderfully honest. For all that, she is a woman of her time, with certain prejudices and expectations and most of them end up on their ear or irrelevant. Her optimism and patient commitment to her family wins - every single time.
The account does *not* spare the US Army in the least. When it was published I’m sure there were a few cleared throats and flushed faces from the Generals and Congressional Potentates. I hope so anyway! And yet, even as she raises these issues, she shrugs them aside because she loves her husband; just as firmly believes in her duty to him as he believes in his duty to his/ our country. Her complaints are on paper, after the fact, or commiserating with other women in the same situation; otherwise, she carries on with the best attitude possible.
Journeying from post to post is described in detail with the hardships so obvious she doesn’t need to beat the horse to death. Being expected to adapt to military life, to make the best of conditions most men would grumble about and still mind the children while keeping up with the troops was interesting to read. I did laugh in several places, imagining Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne making due half so well.
Mrs. Boyd’s love for and interest in the frontier surrounding her comes through with each chapter. She is enchanted with the scenery, honest about the weather, and hates cacti, earnestly, even as she points out its nutritional value. I liked how she focused on the broader details, slipping in examples, without compromising the privacy of her marriage, self or children. The narration was true to the times, her personal integrity as well as being an amusing quirk.
Most readers skip the Appendix. In this book the temptation to close it and not realize there are two would be understandable. However … I dare suggest you read them both. Mr. Boyd is this shadowy figure of bravery and honor, worthy of her devotion and all hardships. It isn’t till the Appendix that he speaks for himself. I believe that is the highest accolade a wife can give: The last word.
you can read my complete review at PageTraveler dot blogspot dot com
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